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Two MPs from MOST-HID propose a revision of State Language Act

The revised law on state language that takes effect on September 1 might be amended again if a proposal of two independent MPs goes through at the parliamentary session in September, the SITA newswire wrote.

The revised law on state language that takes effect on September 1 might be amended again if a proposal of two independent MPs goes through at the parliamentary session in September, the SITA newswire wrote.

László Nagy and Zsolt Simon who recently quit the opposition Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) along with its leader Béla Bugár and then co-founded the new party MOST-HÍD are the authors of the latest revision.

The deputies want the Culture Ministry to publish the codified version of the state language on its website, as proposed by Slovak linguistic institutions. The deputies also propose cancelling fines for use of non-standard Slovak. They insist that the approved law might discriminate against people who are members of ethnic minorities and people using a dialect.

The law also grants disproportionate favours to users of the Czech language, say the authors of the revision. They further complain that the law gives power to the ministry to approve the codified form of the state language despite the fact it is not a linguistic institution. They added that the amended state language act that was approved in parliament on June 30 authorizes the ministry and its officials to function as "language police" with the power to levy fines.

The State Language Act passed by the Slovak parliament two months ago requires public employees to speak Slovak unless more than twenty percent of the local population speaks a minority language. The most significant minority language spoken in Slovakia is Hungarian.

Representatives of Hungary and Slovakia's Hungarian minority, however, continue to criticize the law, along with some foreign media. Slovak Culture Minister Marek Maďarič dismisses any criticism aimed at the amendment. He told SITA that the law does not and cannot punish anybody for the use of a minority language. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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